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UPDATE: High-profile Columbia hazing trial appears to be a go on May 21

UPDATE: High-profile Columbia hazing trial appears to be a go on May 21

Boone County Courthouse
The Boone County Courthouse is in downtown Columbia (2019 file photo from 939 the Eagle)

A pretrial conference is set for Monday morning at the Boone County Courthouse in Columbia in a high-profile Columbia hazing case that’s drawn nationwide media attention.

The suspect is a former Mizzou student. Boone County Circuit Judge Kevin Crane has ordered 22-year-old Ryan Delanty of Ballwin to appear in court Monday morning at 9 for a pretrial conference, ahead of his May 21 jury trial. Delanty is charged with two class D felonies: hazing and second degree assault. He’s also charged with a misdemeanor count of supplying liquor to a minor or intoxicated person. Delanty is charged with October 2021 Columbia incident involving involving Danny Santulli.

Boone County prosecutors say Delanty was Santulli’s pledge dad, and that the victim was hazed and forced to drink alcohol. The original Boone County grand jury indictment against Delanty read, in part: “the defendant (Delanty) knowingly participated in a willful act against D.S., a prospective member of Phi Gamma Delta, an organization operating under the sanction of the University of Missouri, for the purpose of initiation or admission into such organization, by supplying alcohol to D.S., a minor, and requiring him to drink it, thereby placing D.S. at probable risk of bodily harm, recklessly endangering his physical health or safety, and creating a substantial risk to his life.”

Santulli’s family members say that he is blind, is unable to walk and cannot talk, due to the incident. The University of Missouri and the national Phil Gamma Delta fraternity essentially kicked the fraternity off the Mizzou campus after the October 2021 incident.

This case has drawn major Columbia-area media attention and it’s also been featured nationally on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Judge Crane has granted Clayton-based defense attorney Stephanie Howlett’s motion for a change of venue. The jury will be selected in western Missouri’s Warrensburg, which is about 95 miles from Columbia. Judge Crane has called 70 prospective jurors, and once the jury is selected, they’ll be transported to the Boone County Courthouse in Columbia for the trial. Boone County assistant prosecutor Nick Komoroski is prosecuting the case.

State Rep. Travis Smith (R-Dora) testifies before the Missouri House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee on March 7, 2024 in Jefferson City (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

State Rep. Travis Smith (R-Dora) has filed the bipartisan Danny’s law, which is an anti-hazing bill. Smith is a Mizzou graduate. While the Missouri House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee has approved Smith’s House Bill 1443, it has yet to be debated on the House floor in Jefferson City. Missouri’s 2024 legislative session ends on Friday May 17.